Back To School

As weird as it is, the kiddos are already heading back to school.

I remember my summer break being much longer: we usually got out after the first week of June, and didn’t go back until the week before Labor Day.  Whatever, we didn’t get a fall break, a winter break, or any of the other ‘teacher workday’ holidays that are spread throughout the year.  And we had to walk uphill both ways….

At the beginning of every school year, we’d always load up on school supplies.  I’ve always been a bit of a minimalist, but also very organized.  I like everything having a place.  Now that I’m in a professional environment, I take the same approach as it relates to my ‘school supplies’, with a little caveat: I buy pieces that are designed to last.  Gone are the days of the Trapper Keeper…instead, here’s what I carry:

From top left:

1. Filson Ranger Backpack:  I used to be anti-backpack at the office, but I find myself using my Ranger more and more.  There’s enough room for all my ‘work’ stuff, but there’s also room for my lunch, and any other knick knacks I need to get to and from the office.  This is also a GREAT bag for an overnight business trip.
2. Parker Jotter Pens:  These have become my absolute go-to pens.  I like the weight, and I like that they write in blue ink.  In addition, I always carry a few of these Pilot Precise pens in red.  I call them my ‘paper graders’.  I’m the son of a teacher…
3. Colonel Littleton #2 Card Wallet:  I really like how business cards have continued to be a thing.  In the digital world in which we work, the ritual of exchanging a hard copy of your contact information still carries value.  I like to keep mine in this card holder, along with an extra pocket to keep all the cards I collect, as well as my emergency $20 bill.
4. Colonel Littleton #30 Composition Journal:  I switch between this and my #18 portfolio.  I don’t think I’ll ever transition to taking online notes.  I do much better when I write things down.
5. Anker Powercore 10000 Portable Charger:  You need a charge?  These are a lifesaver.  They hold about five or six iPhone charges, so they come in really handy when you don’t have an outlet handy.
6. MacBook Pro:  The answer.  Period.
7. Native Union 10′ iPhone Cord:  There is a huge advantage to a 10′ iPhone cord.  I like a long leash.
8. Jelly Comb Slim Wireless Mouse:  Don’t laugh at the name…I’ve tried a TON of wireless mouses, and this one is the best value prop on the market.  It does everything you need, is comfortable, and the price point is just right.  Order two at a time.
9. Filson Original Briefcase:  The alternate to my Ranger backpack.  The traditional briefcase is just the right size for a day-to-day office environment.  Up to the 257 or 258 if you have a lot of homework.  No doubt about the quality of Filson.
10. Leatherman Wingman Multi-tool:  Don’t laugh, but I am always finding opportunities to use my Leatherman around the office.  It’s for all the situations you don’t think of…  Just leave it at home before you head to the airport.
11. Colonel Littleton #3 Leather Mousepad:  I’ve never had luck with a wireless mouse that didn’t include a mousepad.  Slip one of these into your briefcase and you won’t have to rely on the touchpad…especially when working on those detailed Powerpoint slides.
12. Yeti 20 oz. Rambler:  There’s always room for coffee.  The big complaint is that coffee stays ‘too hot’.  I agree.  My solution:  coffee, cream and sugar, stir, add three ice cubes.  You’ll be good to go in a couple minutes.

What did I miss?




  1. Tanner
    08/06/2018 / 7:51 AM

    I love Parker Jotters. Also, adds that they’re the choice of pen in Mad Men. If it’s good enough for Don Draper, it’s good enough for me.

  2. Patrick
    08/06/2018 / 9:37 AM

    Any “adult” lunch box recommendations? 

    • Landy
      08/07/2018 / 8:53 AM

      I’ve got the Heritage LL Bean one I’ve been pleased with. Couldn’t justify forking $100+ on a Filson piece to carry around a sandwich

  3. Nathan
    08/06/2018 / 10:44 AM

    What are your thoughts on fountain pens?

    • JMR
      08/06/2018 / 1:37 PM

      I’ve had a lot of luck with the Pilot metropolitan series pens. They write beautifully, are relatively inexpensive and ink refills are available through just about any online dealer, including amazon. 

  4. Aaron
    08/06/2018 / 11:08 PM

    Any suggestions for cord organizers?  Something slim and compact.  

  5. Aaron
    08/06/2018 / 11:12 PM

    Any suggestions for cord organizers?  Something slim and compact?

    • Nem
      08/07/2018 / 8:02 AM

      I’ve tried most of what is out there to organize cords…settled on a small nylon zipper case once used to hold a small digital camera.  I roll up my power cords and place them and my plug adapters inside and tuck it into a pocket in my backpack.

    • JMR
      08/07/2018 / 3:20 PM

      I’ve been using the Cocoon Grid-It for a few years now. I’m very pleased.

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